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Learning and Forgetting: The Dynamics of Aircraft Production

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  • C. Lanier Benkard

Abstract

This paper introduces a new cost dataset for a commercial aircraft firm and uses this data to analyze the dynamics of learning in commercial aircraft production. This dataset is found to be inconsistent with the simple learning hypothesis, and particularly the prediction that a firm's unit cost must decline with its cumulative production. Instead, strong support is found for the hypothesis of organizational forgetting, a more general learning model where unit costs are similarly dependent on a firm's past production experience, but where that experience depreciates over time. Additionally, it is found that some, but not all, of a firm's production experience transfers from one generation of an aircraft to the next. This evidence adds to our understanding of productivity in industries with learning and thus has implications to many fields of economics.

Suggested Citation

  • C. Lanier Benkard, 1999. "Learning and Forgetting: The Dynamics of Aircraft Production," NBER Working Papers 7127, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7127
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    Cited by:

    1. George W. Evans & Seppo Honkapohja, 2003. "Adaptive learning and monetary policy design," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, pages 1045-1084.
    2. Jørgen Hansen & Camilla Jensen & Erik Madsen, 2003. "The establishment of the danish windmill industry—Was it worthwhile?," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 139(2), pages 324-347, June.
    3. Voxi Heinrich S. Amavilah, 2004. "Determinants of Economic Growth Across Embedded Economies: A Transformational Analogy of Mining Population for Human Capital," Development and Comp Systems 0402001, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Warr, Benjamin & Ayres, Robert, 2006. "REXS: A forecasting model for assessing the impact of natural resource consumption and technological change on economic growth," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 329-378, September.
    5. V. Heinrich Amavilah, 2003. "The Ebbinghaus Effect and the Implications of Net Learning for the Performance of Production Systems, with Some Experimental Results," Experimental 0307002, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Gomes, Orlando, 2008. "Interaction in organizations: A dynamic choice of codes," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 1570-1583, August.
    7. Li, Wen & Guo, Bin & Xu, Gangxiang, 2017. "Making the next move: When does the newness of experience matter in overseas sequential entries of multinational companies?," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 908-926.
    8. Madsen, Erik Strøjer & Jensen, Camilla & Hansen, Jørgen Drud, 2002. "Scale in Technology and Learning-by-Doing in the Windmill Industry," Working Papers 02-2, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics.
    9. Chowdhry, Bhagwan & Garmaise, Mark J., 2003. "Organization Capital and Intrafirm Communication," University of California at Los Angeles, Anderson Graduate School of Management qt8j01z46g, Anderson Graduate School of Management, UCLA.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • L62 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Automobiles; Other Transportation Equipment; Related Parts and Equipment
    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets

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